Jordan Hattaway never thought he’d be a natural climber. But after spotting a Facebook post about an arborist with an MPTT scholarship, he decided to check out the trade. Less than a year later, he’s recently had the chance to compete in a national tree climbing competition.
Jordan only started his arborist training this year, but he’s already made it to a national competition for his trade.
Having entered a regional competition in Auckland, the 23-year-old didn’t quite qualify for nationals – but he impressed the judges enough to be picked as a wild card for the national competition in Queenstown, which he attended this month.
“It was a really exhilarating competition, especially for a boy who had no background in it. I never thought climbing trees would be this fun,” says Jordan.
“My next goal is to push for next year’s comp, and in the next five years to get a New Zealand title.”
Competitive tree climbing is a replication of best practice in the arboriculture industry, without actually cutting a tree. Competing in these events helps further an arborist’s career.
To help Jordan (Ngāti Whātua) attend the event, MPTT provided $850 to cover his flights, accommodation and registration fee.
“All I can say is thank you to MPTT. They’ve done a lot for me so far and I can’t overstate what it’s done for me,” says Jordan, who lives with his partner, mother-in-law and 10-month-old daughter.
“The scholarship has changed my life, honestly. This is definitely going to set me up for life and set my family up for life.”
The Manukau Institute of Technology trainee began his training at the start of 2020, so is “real green to the arborist industry”. Having seen an MPTT Facebook post about becoming an arborist, he decided to check it out with his brother-in-law.
“As soon as we saw someone swinging in a tree, we were thinking, ‘Yeah, this is for us’. We’re basically like monkeys.”
“I just never thought climbing would be something I would do. I didn’t even see that I had this natural ability to climb things.”
He spends around three days a week on his coursework, and on other days works at Specimen Treecare in Panmure. He also practices tree climbing on weekends, often in a reserve or park.
“We’ll find a big tree somewhere that’s not dangerous, and we’ll practice for five or six hours on a weekend. That’s so we can get our muscle memory, so we remember what to do when we’re in a comp,” he says.
“I want to win a national title so I can be known in the book of arboriculture. It’s just going to be a hell of a lot of training. But, you know, I’m up for it. I’m ready to put in the effort.”
Māori and Pasifika Trades students are always part of the whānau, even after graduation. As one of our alumni, we’ll let you know about industry news and job offers and give you ongoing access to a supportive network in the trades. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
What if you could get paid to climb trees? As Ngati Kaihau discovered, a love for doing physical work outdoors and respect for the land could make you a...
Get qualified on time
Finishing your apprenticeship means you can stop studying and start enjoying being a qualified tradie – including earning more money and having more job...
Having mouths to feed is a powerful motivator to work hard and build a successful career. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we share the stories...
A much-loved community garden that was destroyed by a rogue vehicle has been restored, thanks to a group of MPTT trainees. RāWiri Community House...
in the trades
Interviews are one of the more nerve-wracking parts of getting a job. When you’re meeting an employer face to face, you might feel like you have to know...
Your employer’s first impression of you isn’t usually face-to-face – they’ll read your job application first. So if your CV isn’t up to scratch,...
Camille McKewin’s love of horticulture grew out of fond memories of gardening with her grandfather. She’s now using her skills to build a gardening...